Issue Date: July 27, 2009
Making Graphene In A Flash
No time to make graphene via conventional routes? Then make it "in a flash."
Northwestern University scientists have just demonstrated that graphite oxide can be converted instantly to graphene via photothermal deoxygenation by exposing the material to a pulse of light from an ordinary camera flash (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja902348k).
Because of its low cost and wide availability, graphite oxide is a promising precursor for making graphene-based materials, which are being studied for use in polymer composites and electronics. The oxide is typically treated at high temperature or with potent reducing agents such as hydrazine to yield graphene.
Now, Laura J. Cote, Rodolfo Cruz-Silva, and Jiaxing Huang of Northwestern have shown in a video that the flash method is an instantaneous, chemical-free way to transform graphite oxide, an electrical insulator, into graphene, a conductor, at room temperature.
The team has also shown that by applying masking and photolithography methods, the flash technique can be used to fabricate complex patterns, a key step in developing electronic components.
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